I never expected to find this card in my mailbox last Wednesday. One of my colleagues had students write notes to teachers in the high school in honor of World Teachers’ Day. To be honest, I had no idea there was a World Teachers’ Day. I’m familiar with teacher appreciation week, but this was unexpected. The note, more than the day.
While McDonald’s hands out free breakfasts to teachers this week, I’m still digesting this profoundly simple epistle, imperfections and all. Nothing speaks louder to the state of the union for students across America (and the world) for the past eighteen months, imperfections and all.
To put it simply, it sucks.
As I look out on the masked faces of the students I teach, their expressions choked out by masks and months of psychological trauma, I grieve. The manic fear spread throughout our society has imprisoned so many souls in cells of despair. And I’m done playing the game.
“this year suck but you don’t, keep it up”Anonymous Student
As I told my students the day after receiving the card, “This is all I need to remind me why I’m here and why what I bring to the classroom is so vital.” It’s not about the literary terms or even the stories and poems we read, for the most part. I can’t afford to have a bad day, though I struggle with living in these unprecedented dark days just like they do. But I know I can’t do it on my own strength. Unless I tap into the streams of living water from which flow goodness and peace and joy, I have nothing to offer but the same hopeless and drowning despair. And that’s not why I became a teacher, nor why I write.
I have no poetry to offer today. Only this card.
Hear the voice of the poet.